April 21, 2024

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Gaza: UN health agency warns over continuing attacks on healthcare

The unrelenting war in Gaza hasn’t spared hospitals, their staff or the people sheltering there, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, as it published data indicating more than 350 attacks on healthcare in the enclave since hostilities erupted.

A total of 645 people have died as a result of these documented incidents and another 818 have been injured, said WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic.

His comments came amid reports that a nurse was shot and critically injured while inside an operating theatreΒ at a hospital in Khan Younis.

Here’s Tarik Jasarevic now:

β€œHealth facilities are protected under international humanitarian law. And we keep really repeating our appeal to all parties to the conflict to respect that the health workers, ambulances, hospitals, patients should never be a target and should be protected.”

Sudan war leaves 700,000 children facing life-threatening malnutrition

A staggering 700,000 children in Sudan face the worst and most life-threatening form of hunger after 300 days of war, which has also uprooted the largest number of children in the world, UN humanitarians have warned.

According to the UN Children’s Fund’s James Elder, four million youngsters have been displaced by fighting that began last April. Assistance has been blocked by both rival militaries, he told journalists in Geneva:

β€œAll parties have restricted the movement of aid, so, the operating context could not be more difficult. The fighting continues, there are catastrophic levels of need. The funding nowhere near matches these. And then when we get aid with brave partners on the ground to move it, it can frustratingly and life-threateningly not move for two months.”

Earlier this week the UN aid coordination office, OCHA, appealed for $2.7 billion to meet most urgent needs inside Sudan, but the appeal is just four per cent funded.

Describing his visit last week to Sudan’s Darfurs, Mr. Elder said that of the more than 700,000 children who are likely to suffer severe acute malnutrition – the most dangerous form of hunger – UNICEF β€œwon’t be able to treat more than 300,000 of those without improved access and without additional support.Β 

If that happens, β€œtens of thousands” will likely die, he warned.

Haiti’s people suffering β€˜torrent of violence’, warns TΓΌrk

Haiti is in the grip of a deepening human rights catastrophe, the UN’s top rights official, Volker TΓΌrk, has said, after the most violent month in the Caribbean nation for over two years.

More than 800 people not involved in gang violence and anti-government protests were killed last month alone, Mr. TΓΌrk said. This is at least three times the number recorded last January.

In the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, gang members have continued to clash for control of territory, escalating their activities outside the city, where schools, public services and businesses have been forced to close.

Mr. TΓΌrk, who is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, described how Haiti’s gangs use sexual violence against women and girls as a weapon and they β€œspread fear” by sharing gruesome photos and videos of killed individuals and women being raped on social media.

Children have become victims of the violence, with 167 youngsters killed or injured by bullets last year, including some executed by gangs or so-called β€œself-defence” groups after being accused of supporting rivals.Β 

The growing and widespread insecurity – which Mr. TΓΌrk described as a β€œtorrent of violence” – has sparkedΒ anti-government street protests and civil unrest, supported by opposition political parties, in at least 24 towns.

In the last three weeks, at least 16 people were killed and 29 injured, mainly in the context of confrontations between protesters and police, the High Commissioner’s office said.

Daniel Johnson, UN News

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